These popular K-beauty watermelon masks and moisturizers keep selling out - we tried the new skin care brand's best sellers to figure out why
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- Mention the word "watermelon" in any beauty and skincare forum and associations immediately jump to Korean beauty and skincare brand Glow Recipe.
- Founded by two former L'Oréal execs in 2014, Glow Recipe hopes to make K-beauty more accessible to US shoppers.
- Judging by the sales of its hyper-successful watermelon-infused skincare products, including the cult-favorite Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask ($45), it has established itself as a brand to watch as interest in K-beauty continues to grow.
- We learned more about Glow Recipe's journey to $30 million in sales, and tried out its best sellers for ourselves.
Starting a new beauty and skincare brand is risky. In a highly saturated market, it's all too easy to lose footing if you fail to recognize what skincare enthusiasts want from their products. Even more importantly, you must anticipate and lead them to the products they didn't even know they needed.So how did Glow Recipe, the Korean beauty and skincare startup that has done $30 million in sales in just four years, do it?
For starters, it helps to have founders with proven experience in the industry. As former vice presidents of global marketing at L'Oréal, Sarah Lee and Christine Chang were the only two employees with expertise in both the Korean and American markets.
Lee told Business Insider:
When my partner Christine and I set out to build Glow Recipe in 2014, it was because we saw an enormous opportunity to leverage our bicultural and bilingual beauty backgrounds in a market that was just waiting to become the next big thing - at the time, K-beauty was on the cusp of exploding in the US.
And herein was the white space: the absence of a stakeholder who had the ability to identify, market, and nurture Korean products and brands with the potential to become key players, and make them relevant and appealing to American consumers.
Glow Recipe's mission, Lee says, is "to break down what K-beauty [is] all about, educate consumers on the unique trends coming out of Korea, bring them best-in-class skincare offerings, and make them accessible to American consumers through repositioning and education."
The concept of curating and introducing natural K-beauty products to US shoppers led them to everyone's favorite reality competition show "Shark Tank" in 2015, where they accepted an offer with Robert Herjavec. Off-screen, however, Lee and Chang ultimately decided to continue self-funding their business and have done perfectly well without the Shark's assistance.
The company's real breakout moment came in 2017 with the launch of its eponymous brand and Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask product ($45). The mask has sold out seven consecutive times and attracted 5,000-person waitlists, and it was one of Sephora's bestselling products in 2017.
Having officially entered the beauty big leagues, Glow Recipe followed up with additional hits like the Watermelon Glow Jelly Sheet Mask ($8), Watermelon Pink Juice Moisturizer ($39, sold out within two hours of being made available for pre-sale), and most recently, the Avocado Melt Sleeping Mask ($45).
Though K-beauty is known for its high levels of innovation and experimentation, its approach to skincare, which Chang calls "skin-tertainment," is also a hallmark. She explains that self-care and pampering lie at the core of skincare, and K-beauty makes this ritual fun, shareable, and accessible with its "unique textures and visual formats."
Another feature of K-beauty is "natural skincare with compelling ingredient stories." You see this clearly laid out in the Watermelon Glow collection, which highlights the nourishing antioxidant powers of the fruit. Elsewhere, brands like Youth to the People are also taking advantage of the properties of superfoods.
We had the opportunity to try some Glow Recipe's fun and innovative skincare products for ourselves, and you can find each of the reviews below.Subscribe to our newsletter.
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